Albany Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) and Senator Bill Larkin (R-39th) are proud to announce that the Assembly and Senates one-house budget resolutions contain the Veterans Equality Act.
This legislation would allow all honorably discharged veterans who are members of a New York State retirement system to purchase service credit for up to three years of military service performed. Under current law, only veterans who served during certain specified periods of war are eligible for this benefit, excluding a substantial number of veterans, such as those who have served recently in Afghanistan.
All veterans who served our country deserve our ultimate respect and thanks, regardless of when or where they happened to serve, Paulin said. To hold these benefits back from so many veterans is an insult to the sacrifices that all servicemen and women have made.
The Veterans Equality Act will now be negotiated for inclusion in the final state budget, which is expected to be voted on later this month to meet the April 1st deadline.
Giving all veterans the ability to improve their retirement to assure a greater financial security for themselves and their loved ones is a small price to pay for the sacrifices they have made for their nation, Larkin said. It is outrageous that our Afghanistan veterans and those who have fought in other recent conflicts are not eligible for this military service credit in New York State under current law.
I am pleased that the Senate and Assembly worked together in a bipartisan manner to include this important provision in each of the one-house budget resolutions. A veterans selfless service, not their tour of duty, should be the basis for earning this important credit.